Brown Hair Algae

Seekerxoxo

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I have two tanks that we started in May 2020. One is 55 gallons, and one is 35 gallons. (Two daughters who have now left for school) I am having a terrible issue with the 35-gallon tank with brown algae. I have been battling it since August. Finally, about a month ago, I pulled out the live rocks and brushed the algae off, but it continues to grow back. I stay on top of brushing it off within the tank so it does not get long and take over everything but I am tired of it already. Here is some info on the tank. I do weekly water changes. Began at 10 %, then with the algae problem I increased it to 20-30% and one time 50%. I check my water parameters at least weekly. At one point my nitrates were high (80 ppm, ) which is why I did the 50% change. For the last month, my Nitrates have stayed at 10 ppm. I have a HOB Filter with 2 bio wheels. This last month I have now included a HOB Protein skimmer. I have two clowns and a pink basslet. I did have a lawnmower blenny but he died last week. I also have one Duncan, and two small colonies of Zoanthids. I have hermit crabs, snails, and I think a green emerald that I have not seen since I put him in the tank in May. My ammonia is always 0. Nitrites always 0. Calcium 440 -460, Salinity 1.025. and PH is 8.0 - 8.2. The temperature is around 78-80 degrees. And I have the Orbit LCD lights that I really have not learned how to operate. They are set with the default setting. (I think it is completely off from around 11:30 pm - 8:00 am.) I also have two powerheads on each end facing each other. I have a sand substrate and live rock. What am I missing??? I am becoming so frustrated. And I now also have both tanks with brown dusting all over my sand beds. The water stays crystal clear. Help!!
 
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FindingPonyo

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I have two tanks that we started in May 2020. One is 55 gallons, and one is 35 gallons. (Two daughters who have now left for school) I am having a terrible issue with the 35-gallon tank with brown algae. I have been battling it since August. Finally, about a month ago, I pulled out the live rocks and brushed the algae off, but it continues to grow back. I stay on top of brushing it off within the tank so it does not get long and take over everything but I am tired of it already. Here is some info on the tank. I do weekly water changes. Began at 10 %, then with the algae problem I increased it to 20-30% and one time 50%. I check my water parameters at least weekly. At one point my nitrates were high (80 ppm, ) which is why I did the 50% change. For the last month, my Nitrates have stayed at 10 ppm. I have a HOB Filter with 2 bio wheels. This last month I have now included a HOB Protein skimmer. I have two clowns and a pink basslet. I did have a lawnmower blenny but he died last week. I also have one Duncan, and two small colonies of Zoanthids. I have hermit crabs, snails, and I think a green emerald that I have not seen since I put him in the tank in May. My ammonia is always 0. Nitrites always 0. Calcium 440 -460, Salinity 1.025. and PH is 8.0 - 8.2. The temperature is around 78-80 degrees. And I have the Orbit LCD lights that I really have not learned how to operate. They are set with the default setting. (I think it is completely off from around 11:30 pm - 8:00 am.) I also have two powerheads on each end facing each other. I have a sand substrate and live rock. What am I missing??? I am becoming so frustrated. And I now also have both tanks with brown dusting all over my sand beds. The water stays crystal clear. Help!!
BUY CHEMICLEAN!!!! It's $20 for the small little disc of it. Expensive for the small amount but fixes brown algae, red slime, and works well and fixed it for me EEEAAAAAASSSSYYYY. Worth all of the money it costs and is almost like aquarium hacking. Follow my reef2reef acc, I don't have many followers :(
 
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Seekerxoxo

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First are you sure it’s brown hair algae? Any pictures? Also is the tank near direct sunlight? Maybe up your CUC a bit. My algae never gets far due to CUC.
TBH I am not completely certain. It is definitely hairlike, and definitely brown. When I brush it with a toothbrush it goes into a powder puff cloud. I had a lawnmower blenny but he did not seem to eat it. I had a lot of clean up crew, but because I was told it was probably due to me over feeding I cut down my feeding to 3 times a week, and only 1/4 cube of mysis shrimp each time. (remember two clowns and a basslet) My clean up crew does not last long, and now I was just told yesterday it is probably because the are not being fed enough and dies. So I am now confused; feeding too much, feeding too little? Ugh.
 
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Seekerxoxo

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BUY CHEMICLEAN!!!! It's $20 for the small little disc of it. Expensive for the small amount but fixes brown algae, red slime, and works well and fixed it for me EEEAAAAAASSSSYYYY. Worth all of the money it costs and is almost like aquarium hacking. Follow my reef2reef acc, I don't have many followers :(
I will definitely look for that today. I am ready to try anything.
 

j.falk

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I'm going to say it's probably dinos and when you scrub it with a toothbrush inside the tank you are spreading it around so that it takes over everything even more so than it already was. The same can be said for if it is a hair algae which I highly doubt it is. Hair algae comes off in clumps and will float around the tank...it doesn't dissipate into the water column when you scrub it.

Some dinos are also toxic to CUC and it will kill them if they eat it.

Chemiclean will not work against dinos.
 

DanConnor

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Also dinos are usually a problem in low nutrient tank- which yours is if your nitrates are really 0. It's common noob advice to tell anyone with an algae problem that they have to control their nutrients, and often wrong.

I did once have a brown hair algae problem in a fairly new tank (which I fixed with API algaefix) but that is more unlikely than dinos. Post some pics.
 
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Miguel Negron

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I know that would be extremely helpful. I will try to get some but each time I try you can not really see it in the pictures. However, I will try again. Thank you for trying to help me.
No problem. From reading the issue, I would recommend also adding chemi blue which helps clarify the water, removes phosphates, and any toxins. I would continue doing 20% water change weekly and adjust your feeding. Then test after a month
 
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Seekerxoxo

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Also dinos are usually a problem in low nutrient tank- which yours is if your nitrates are really 0. It's common noob advice to tell anyone with an algae problem that they have to control their nutrients, and often wrong.

I did once have a brown hair algae problem in a fairly new tank (which I fixed with API algaefix) but that is more unlikely than dinos. Post some pics.
I do not believe my nitrates are 0. I had an issue with them being high and did many 30% - 50% Water changes weekly to bring them down. But for the last month the nitrates are remaining at 20 PPM using my API test kit I have at home. When I take it to my LFS they said my Nitrates were fine, showing 0. But I am not sure what to believe. The few Zoas I have in the tank are growing like crazy spreading out all over the rock, and the one Duncan is growing about 4 heads off the one stem from the bottom, so I hope that means my nutrients are alright. Let me know what you think.
 

j.falk

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Take a minute and look up photos of dinos online and compare them with what you are seeing in your tank.
 
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Seekerxoxo

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This is an image where it is just coming back after my recent water change and of course the brushing it off which I now know was WRONG! Thank you. I am sorry you can not see it really well but the brown spots are where it is coming back. IMG_5244.jpg IMG_5245.jpg
 

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Seekerxoxo

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I did the research and came to the conclusion it is Diatoms because it says if I squirt it with a Turkey baster and it blows into a cloud of puff then it is Diatoms, and that is exactly what it does. Also, I went back and looked at other people's tanks with Diatoms and it looks like what I have as well. Thank you for the suggested pages which helped me to determine what it is.
 

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